Cash Options: What You Need to Know about Swapping Prizes for Cash

Does Every Giveaway Offer Cash Options for Prizes?

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Would You Prefer to Be Offered Cash If You Win a Trip?. Medioimages/Photodisc / Getty Images

Cash Options: What They Are and How You Get Them for Sweepstakes Prizes

Winning a prize and not being able to use it is a common problem for sweepstakes fans. It's heartbreaking to have to decline a prize, isn't it? However, sometimes a cash option lets you enjoy your win even if you can't use the prize you entered to win.

What Are Cash Options for Sweepstakes Prizes?

Sometimes, sweepstakes sponsors will state in the rules that the winner will have the option of accepting cash instead of the prize that's being given away: a cash option.

So if you can't go on a trip or you have no use for the prize you ended up getting, you can still receive something everyone needs more of... money.

But remember, there's no guarantee that a cash option will be offered. Many people make the assumption that they can always receive cash in lieu of prizes, but unless it's stated in the rules, sponsors don't have to offer a cash option, and they usually don't.

Many times, the sponsor has partnered with other companies to put together a prize package. For example, a hotel may have donated the room, an airline offered discounted fares, and a restaurant a free gift card in return for being listed on the sweepstakes page. So in many cases, it's not just a case of the sponsor buying the trip where they can just give you cash instead.

Even when that's not the case, the sponsor may have other reasons for not offering a cash option for a trip prize.

There's nothing wrong with politely asking, "Is a cash option offered instead of this trip?" But pushing any harder for cash if the sponsor says no seems ungrateful, and probably won't get you anywhere.

It's one of the things I recommend you don't do when you win a prize.

So if you can't take a trip you won, and the sponsor doesn't readily agree to a cash option, simply decline the prize. It's frustrating to turn down a ​prize you have rightfully won, but it means that the trip prize will go to someone who can use it well, and maybe you'll improve your luck with the good karma.

Have more questions about winning trips? See my Vacation Prize FAQs for answers to the most commonly-asked questions about vacation wins.